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Vikings Should Look At These 4-3 Defensive Coordinator Options

Sean Desai

Sean Desai has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Vikings’ defensive coordinator position as it looks like he could have a place on Sean Payton’s staff with the Broncos. 

Ejiro Evero

Ejiro Evero is currently the Broncos’ defensive coordinator, however, there is a new head coach in town: Sean Payton. He is also in the running for the head coaching positions in Indianapolis and Arizona. He brings a fair amount of experience and potential to the defensive coordinator position. 

His resume:

UC Davis Assistant coach (2005–2006)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive quality control coach (2007–2009)

University of Redlands Special teams coordinator & safeties coach (2010)

San Francisco 49ers Quality control coach (2011)

San Francisco 49ers Offensive assistant (2012–2013)

San Francisco 49ers Defensive assistant (2014–2015)

Green Bay Packers Defensive quality control coach (2016)

Los Angeles Rams Safeties coach (2017–2020)

Los Angeles Rams Secondary coach & passing game coordinator (2021)

Denver Broncos Defensive coordinator (2022–present)

He did overlap for two years with Kevin O’Connell on the Los Angeles Rams so there is at least a little bit of familiarity. At this point, it seems more likely that he will stay with the Broncos, especially with the addition of a great head coach like Sean Payton. 

Mike Pettine

Mike Pettine is currently on the Vikings coaching staff as the Assistant Head Coach. He has a great wealth of experience when it comes to coaching football in general as well.

His resume:

High School/NCAA/NFL Coaching Career

Central Bucks West High School Assistant Coach (1988-92)

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate Assistant (1993-94)

William Tennent High School Head Coach (1995-96)

Penn High School Head Coach (1997-2001)

Baltimore Ravens Coaching Assistant (2002-03)

Baltimore Ravens Assistant Defensive Line Coach (2004)

Baltimore Ravens Outside Linebackers Coach (2005-08)

New York Jets Defensive Coordinator (2009-12)

Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator (2013)

Cleveland Browns Head Coach (2014-15)

Seattle Seahawks Consultant (2017)

Green Bay Packers Defensive Coordinator (2018-20)

Chicago Bears Senior Defensive Assistant (2021)

Minnesota Vikings Assistant Head Coach (2022)

He is an excellent option as he is already on the coaching staff and has been a defensive coordinator in the NFL several times before. Even if the Vikings choose not to make him the defensive coordinator, it would be hard to see them let him go anywhere. He is a precious asset since we have an offensive-minded head coach in Kevin O’Connell.

With a coordinator like Pettine, you would not be reinventing anything, but you could transform this defense from one of the worst in the league to somewhere in the middle of the pack. 

Brian Flores

Brian Flores is the youngest of all the options listed and has the potential to be a really good defensive coordinator or even a head coach again. 

His firing by the Dolphins was a head-scratcher. He had one winning season and was in the middle of another one when he got fired. 

He spent this last season under the tutelage of Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh. One can assume that would make him even more valuable in either a defensive coordinator or head coach role.

His resume:

New England Patriots Special Teams Assistant (2008–2009)

New England Patriots Assistant offense & special teams coach (2010)

New England Patriots Defensive assistant (2011)

New England Patriots Safeties coach (2012–2015)

New England Patriots Linebackers coach (2016–2018)

Miami Dolphins Head coach (2019–2021)

Pittsburgh Steelers Senior defensive assistant & linebackers coach (2022–present)

The Vikings could play it “safe” and hire Mike Pettine for the defensive coordinator position as he is already on staff and it could make for a smoother transition. However, I hope they shake things up in a major way with the hire of Brian Flores or someone with a similar pedigree.

He has shown that he can lead at the NFL level and he did overlap a little bit with Kevin O’Connell in New England. I hope that he gets another opportunity to be a head coach at some point, but I also hope that he can be the next defensive coordinator for the Vikings.

Vikings Should Look To A Younger Candidate

At any rate, it would be nice to see the Vikings employ a younger, defensive-minded coach in this position, as their past head coach and defensive coordinators were in their 60s.

Ideally, it would be a coach that could truly take advantage of his players’ skills and strengths, unlike Ed Donatell, who regularly put pass rushers like Danielle Hunter into pass coverage. Stay locked in at Stadium Rant all off-season for more speculation and draft-related coverage!

 
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